the other woman

The night that her stepfather bashed in her mum’s face, Delilah learned more about Ann Catherine than she did during the rest of their seventeen years together. Domestic violence is not always what you’d expect. And Delilah’s memory of sitting with her mum, staring at her colorful, swollen face, is oddly a sweet one. Husband […]

the third installment

Steve owns a couple of other houses in addition to the chalet where he and I work together. (That’s right. I just used the word chalet. Leave me alone. I know what I’m doing.) One of the properties is a recent purchase of which Steve’s very proud. A modest yet stately dwelling in the historic district, […]

a season to break me

You still don’t know me. Next time, I’m going to say, “How hard can it be?” over my shoulder, as I’m walking away. But in the meantime, let me give you this. (It’s a magic decoder ring.) Scenario One: You stop by my house. The lawn has not been tended, but there are stripped crayons […]

hyde and seek

So I am poolside with my best ex, laughing about that time he blackened my eye. Reflected in his sunglasses, my son floats casually by on an inner tube. I turn to appreciate it just in time to see a beautiful dive bomb executed by my ex’s son, which attempts to sink my son completely. […]

when jesus walks through

We might say that I’m about to make some of the same mistakes. But only if we’re into beating me over the head with a runner from Rosebud’s sled. Which we’re not. We’re not into that. Instead, we’re into supporting my whims, my desires and my peculiarities as the secret treasure map through an exalted […]

in loco parentis

She doesn’t even make it down the first step before he stops her. “Wait!” he says. “You’re going to answer the door like that?” She stops and lowers her eyes — from the white straps tied off loosely on her shoulders to her bare, polished toes. “Because I have no shoes?” she asks, confused. He […]

who we became on the way down

Half of my family was staying on the east coast the summer it all went down. The other half was supposed to meet us there. Not all of them made it. I was eleven. “Stop faking,” Mum demanded, when I came to her about the staggering pain. By that time, I was well aware that […]

dark water

Lovey is twelve and living with her substitute family the day her period comes. It shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is. “Should we cancel the trip to the river?” Delilah, her substitute mother, asks. “Are you feeling blue?” Lovey is occasionally morose and Delilah has developed a regimen for it, in which she […]


I met Sebastian in a summer writing program to which I’d applied as a result of feeling lost again (my standing motivation, it seems, for anything). I hadn’t really expected to get in. “Why do we write?” we were asked, the first day. I found the question generic, and I leaned forward at the table […]

not a player

At parent-teacher conferences, Mr. B suggests that my son, Django, explore other genres over the summer. My son is gorgeous, broad-shouldered with curly-blonde surfer hair. “Do you really think that?” he wants to know. “Or do you just have to say that because of the standards?” He’s also a sharp one. A full grade ahead […]